Here’s a cool, but quick round-up of outdoor summer-ready, eco-friendly toys that are all under $40. Toys that encourage outdoor nature play are a great way to get kids outside, and here are some of my favorites…
Naturebag with English activity booklet: comes with a all season activity booklet, soy-based crayons, 2 leaf viewers, hemp twine, 8 color cards, organic cotton blindfold, recycled notepad, rubberwood magnifying glass and recycled pencil all packed nicely into a shoulder bag with an adjustable strap made from Fair Trade certified organic cotton. Allows your child to go on a nature scavenger hunt, walk with bugs, make dough imprints, look closely at the patterns in a leaf, try wild weaving and so much more! A very cool kit. UPDATE – awww, no longer available that I can find 🙁
Green Toys Sand Play Set – made, like all Green Toys, with recycled milk cartons and packaged in recycled materials.
Skittles – Skittles is a way fun game. We used to play it with pals in New Mexico. It’s especially fun as an ice-breaker game at a kids/parent party or get-together. This set is so beautiful it’s hard to believe it’s so inexpensive. Made by Camden Rose with high quality, sustainably sourced materials and certified non-toxic finishes this toy is constructed to last through multiple generations. Learn how to play Skittles.
Wham-o Re-Flyer – Wham-O recently bought Sprig Toys which was a little disappointing actually, because Sprig is hyper eco-friendly, and Wham-O, well, not so much. However, because of the buy-out, Wham-O is now producing some better quality gear. Like this Flyer, for example made with post consumer recycled plastic and packaged in recycled content materials. According to reports, Wham-O will use Sprig’s “green” Sprigwood material in Frisbees, Hula Hoops and other products. Personally, I’ll be excited to see the recycled hula hoop – which I’ve been looking for. Wham-O’s is not out yet.
Honeycomb Wooden Sailboat – this sweet wooden sailboat has a honeycomb printed cotton sail in beautiful greens and blues and is sturdy enough for a small child and can be used in the tub, or any body of water. A safe and non-toxic alternative to plastic bath toys and for outings to the puddle filled park. The sails are tied with a waxed cotton string, and the wood is finished with a non-toxic coating. Wood is finished with natural Tung and Orange oils. Of course I hope I don’t have to tell you that adult supervision near water is 100% necessary.
Egg Race from Haba – this active and fun German made game is made of beech wood and finished with completely non-toxic, child friendly substances. Children get to race against each other while holding frogs, clown heads or eggs with balancing sticks. Whoever reaches the finish line or goes the farthest without dropping anything wins!
I like all Sprig Toys, but two excellent outdoor sets include Sprig Toys Adventures Dino Adventure Rig. All Sprig Toys are made with a child-safe bio composite material made from recycled wood and reclaimed plastic. Sprig Toys rock because they’re not only 100% kid powered but are completely a-ok for both inside and outside play plus both land and water. Getting these toys wet won’t harm them.
Stone Soup Garden – have you ever seen a more adorable kids’ garden set!? Comes with a recycled steel case, seed tins, certified organic seeds (Bean, Cabbage, Pea, Carrot, Tomato, and Onion), paper cards, wood stakes, pencil, magic stone and jute bag. Totally sweet toy inspired by the familiar story with the simple message about sharing, this vegetable garden kit is a great way for kids to create a fun-filled garden of their very own.
My favorite outdoor swing, the Classic Wooden Tree Swing – Each swing is handmade from local reclaimed Ash, Elm, or Maple. Once a seat is kiln dried and sanded a light coat of mineral oil is applied to bring out the natural beauty of the wood. The seat is then attached to 20 ft of the best 3/4″ natural fiber rope available (zero oil or chemicals; so it’s safe for children.)
Last up we’ve got the Plan Toys Croquet Set which features a contemporary design of this forgotten, but old time favorite family game. The set is made of recycled and preservative-free rubberwood and other natural materials. Only non-toxic water-based paint is used.